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Listen, today I want to talk to you about some pretty interesting stuff in the first part of John, Chapter 5. If you’re new, we’re looking at the gospel of John, which is the 4th book of the New Testament. This is an amazing book. Again, for you new listeners, The gospels aren’t biographies of Jesus life. They are memories of Jesus. That’s why they have some similarities and a lot of differences. Just like when you get together with family and friends and remember someone that meant a lot to you. One person tells stories then everyone chimes in with their favorites. That’s kind of what the gospels are.
John was the last of Jesus 12 apostles who was still alive, when he wrote his memories. And an odd thing was happening, many people were arguing about Jesus. A few were saying he wasn’t even human. He just looked like a man. John tells the stories he does to show that Jesus is totally God and totally Human. And that’s what made him special.
Here in Chapter 5, we see a really neat story. But first, John points out that Jesus was in Jerusalem because there was a religious feast going on. In chapter 4 he’s still on the way home to Galilee from the last feast, which we read in Chapter 2 that he went to. I think that’s really interesting, because we learn how important worshiping, you know, going to church, was to Jesus. He lived 84 miles from the temple . That means every time he went to a festival, his round trip was 168 miles. And he had to walk. That’s how you got places in his day. Most of us in Buckie, don’t travel 168 miles a year to go to church. He’s just done it now, twice in a year. Plus all the Saturdays he went to the Synagogues along the way. These days, I know people who have never been to church, except maybe to a wedding or a funeral. And I know a lot more who just go when the mood strikes, or it’s convenient. Perhaps, from Jesus example, we should consider making attendance a little more of a priority. Just thinking out loud here.
He stops by this place called the pool of Bethesda, that had 5 covered porches. It was slammed with cripples and blind people. Multitudes were there. That means thousands. Shazaam. This is interesting, because we just read that and go cool pool. But for over 1800 years people said that there was no pool of bethesda. The Bible writers just made it up. No one knew where it was. See, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70. They tore it up. Tore down the temple and wrecked the city. People didn’t know where much was. But in the 1800s archaeologists discovered a pool that had 5 covered porches on it, right outside the city gate. Exactly where the Bible said the pool was. The reason the pool was so badly destroyed was because it provide much of the water to the city. It’s source was a spring. So if the Romans collapsed the whole thing they would cut off water to Jerusalem.
But once again the Bible is proved correct in it’s history. Surprised? Don’t be. This kind of discovery has happened time and time again. The Bible is historically accurate. Full stop.
Anyway, there is this multitude of sick and desperate people at the pool because of a rumor that periodically, an angel came and made the water move. The first person in the water would be healed.
That doesn’t sound much like God to me. First, there is no other place in the Bible where Angels are healing people. And God doesn’t play tricks on people. I mean, the first one in gets healed, everyone else just gets wet. And there are so many people trying to be first in the water that they wouldn’t even know if someone was healed. And it was so crowded some people couldn’t even get in.
This is the story of the poor man Jesus spoke to. He had been totally disabled for 38 years. He couldn’t walk. He would have to crawl or wiggle his way to the pool, and couldn’t make it. But he had heard and believed a myth, a rumor.
That’s the way it is for so many people. They hear rumors and chase them. Some have help. People to throw them in, but some like the guy in our story, is left to suffer on his own.
And then comes Jesus. Jesus asks him if he want’s to be healed. The guy has no idea who Jesus is, and tells him, “What does it matter. I can’t get to the water anyway.” He is so discouraged.
Jesus heals him on the spot. On the spot. Tells him to take his mat and go home. How cool is that. The bloke, just gets up and walks away.
Sometimes, I’ve asked why just one? Why did Jesus only heal this one guy. I’ve read stories where Jesus healed every person in a town. Why just one person? Because the rest weren’t looking for a miracle. They were chasing rumors and myths. Jesus is right among them and they are buzzing all around, ignoring him, waiting for the water to move.
In the other stories, people are coming to Jesus, or being brought to him. That’s totally different than these people. They are chasing the wind. And walking right by Jesus.
How many of us are guilty of walking right past Jesus. We have so many needs, so many unfulfilled dreams, so much guilt, and we’re ready to do anything. But won’t ask Jesus. I’m telling you, He is right here. And He will give you a brand new start. Today. Now.
There’s just one more thing I want to talk about in the story. I mean there’s a whole thing about the Sabbath and all that, but we’ll talk about that stuff another time. Now, the man runs into Jesus later that day in the Temple. First, I think its so cool that the guy was so excited, he went to church that day to thank God. We could probably all learn a thing or two from that. But he sees Jesus, and Jesus says to him, “Sin no more, so that something worse doesn’t happen to you.” That is weird. What could be worse that 38 years of crawling around, unable to walk.
I know people don’t want to hear about it or talk about it, but Jesus is saying, “Don’t risk Hell, son. Live for God.” Jesus had healed more than his body. He had forgiven him. And he’s telling this guy to make the most of it. Being a hopeless quadriplegic was awful. But hell is real. And much worse.
Jesus warns us over and over again that hell is a real place that we want nothing to do with. He came so that we could avoid it. I’m all for taking him up on his plan. We repent and come to him. We turn. We change. We surrender.
Don’t chase rumors. Jesus is right here. He’s the one with the answers. The one with the power. And he offers help to us all. If you’ve surrendered to him, rejoice in that. Relax and live for him. If you’ve never handed over the keys to let Jesus drive, he want to do for you exactly what he did for that man at the Bethesda pool. What will you choose?
Do me a favor? Spend some time thinking about these events. So far, in every chapter Jesus has demonstrated that He is the God Man. In chapter 1, he is God. He made the world. In Chapter 2 he turned water into wine. You don’t see that every day. In Chapter 3 he tells Nicodemus how to be born again. In Chapter 4 he tells the woman at the well the He is the Messiah, the savior of the world. Then he tells the whole town. Now in Chapter 5, he heals a man who has been without a life for 38 years. Who’s chasing after rumors. Just think what Jesus can do for you.
And…That’s all I’ve got for you this week. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to use the comments feature on the website; www.radiofreebuckie.com or write me firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you. I’ll talk to you in about a week. But for now…..I’m out!